Owning a Gun for Dummies

By Bryan Mennie, plagiarising Mark Groome 🙂

So a friend of mine, Mark Groome, runs 365 training and also does a lot of great work in getting children and ladies involved in the shooting sports. He also adds to his civic duty by moderating the Facebook presence of one of South Africa’s larger firearm’s forums. He does an excellent job with that as well. His sense of humor is probably one of the key characteristics which allow him to succeed at both of those endeavors. It was with this in mind that I borrowed a list he recently shared on the selfsame Facebook group.

He started it out as a humor filled approach to answering some very frequently asked questions, when I say very I mean just that, It is clear that a great deal of myth abatement needs to be conducted within our shooting community. Whereas Mark wanted to use the humor driven approach as a gentle way to help people to realize that they were letting an idiot drive the common sense train. I saw a great opportunity to add some clarity to the list to help those who might not get the joke. Mark will I am sure forgive my changing of some of his more colorful phrases. I have left his words bolded in italics and added my explanation of his truisms thereafter.

  • ‘Vehicle mounted, motorcycle or bicycle mounted holsters are a K*K, err, phenomenally bad idea’. – Yes, oh very much yes. Put simply, you are creating problems and not solving them. By adding distance to the ability to reach your firearm you are adding reaction times into a situation where you will never ever have enough to spare, think of all the time you spend training up that draw stroke, your hand finding our hip without a seconds worth of thought, now imagine that when you reach for your firearm when you really need and all you grab are love handles!.

You are also sacrificing control, yes you are. Think of your body mounted holster as a baby seat, yes it is uncomfortable to use, no doubt but it is a short term lack of comfort to prevent that firearm from going ballistic in a manner you will not enjoy.

  • ‘Paintball markers are not self-defense tools’. – Slightly double edged here, but let me add some context. People, especially those without actual experience of critical incidents, tend to believe that any single item is a panacea a silver bullet as it were. A single source solution. Unfortunately this is quite simply not the case, not with firearms and certainly not with less lethal devices such as paintball markers, pepper spray, tazers or similiar. Yes law enforcement does often employ less lethal devices including pepper balls fired from a paintball marker. HOWEVER they deploy such mechanisms within a matrix of other responses in a concurrent fashion. The intent of those devices is to intimidate a suspect rather than using kinetic effect. You are quite literally testing his or her will and motivation to continue the fight. The reality is that not all people respond to less than lethal devices consistently. ALL human beings respond to nerve damage or catastrophic blood loss consistently.  Whilst we are on that topic, there is no such thing as a ‘milspec’ pepper ball. The only milspec pepper is the bottle of hot sauce in the ration pack. Tabasco all the way.
  • ‘Carrying empty chamber has more cons than pro’s’. That so called Israeli approach which web famous instructors will hiss out as being the one, the only, true pathway to firearms carriage.  Again another topic which has consumed gigabytes of bandwidth and wasted hot air in endless pointless exchanges.  Let science lead the way, if the quickest method of accomplishing any task involves the least complex, simplest and most efficient process, how can adding steps to that process improve either its speed or its efficiency? It cannot. You don’t add speed to your serve by bouncing the ball on the court. Same in the act of drawing your firearm. You are adding seconds to an action where mili-seconds are critical.
  • ‘Telling your wife about your girlfriend is a k*k idea.’ – Yes, especially if she is a boxer.
  • Concealed carry is NOT the law. Covered carry is the law. Carrying unconcealed is a k*k idea. – If you are in South Africa, read the Firearm’s Control Act. Stop trying to follow American laws, which leads to idiocy like arrested persons asking to “see the district attorney”, exercising their “Miranda” rights and asking for a South African Police officers “Badge Number”.  Our laws are fairly different here and the concept of covered vs concealed is a significant one. As an example if you had your firearm in its manufacturers box. It would be covered but NOT concealed. Similarly a rifle in a gun bag is covered not concealed. If your firearm prints through your shirt it is tactically unsound but not a criminal offence.
  • ‘Calling your girlfriend your wife’s name is a very k*k idea’. – Worse if she knows jiu jitsu as well as boxing.
  • ‘Glock’s are unsafe because they don’t have a safety, is a stupid statement.’ – Glock’s do have a safety, three of them in fact. The most dangerous part of any firearm design is the person using it.
  • ‘Standing under a steel shafted umbrella in a lightning storm is a silly idea.’ – So is holding a golf club in a thunderstorm, well the whole concept of golf is pretty silly, golf course are a waste of great shooting range space.
  • Lasers or Weapon Mounted Lights are not illegal and don’t make it look like you want to kill people betterer’. – I wish people would actually read the law and stop fixating on stupid comments without understanding the concept. Laser aiming devices, weapon mounted lights, when used correctly, enhance your ability to use your firearm safely. If a state prosecutor, nope still not a district attorney, uses that point during a trial, I would be shocked then gleeful at the great opportunity which has been availed to explain to the court how lighting my target before engaging it spoke to my reasonableness, proportional response and wish to address the imminent threat.
  • JHP ammo is NOT illegal. Regardless of what your brother-in-law the cop told you. – As a former police officer, I am in wholehearted agreement with this. Unless a police officer is a designated firearms officer (DFO) they have no basis to provide you with any firearm specific legal advice, indeed any legal advice. Police officers are law enforcers NOT legal counsel. Your guideline as a responsible owner should always be the law and its regulations. Indeed invest in a pocket guide to the act and its regulations and keep it in your vehicle or another appropriate and easy to access location. If a police officer wishes to say that hollow points, black talons or whatever else is flavor of the month, are illegal than ask him or her to share the relevant section of the act with you.
  • ‘Oscar P… that infamous runner is a ‘cardboard box’. He’s done huge “perception” damage to legal firearm owners. Referencing him in any firearm discussion puts you in the same league’. – That is true. Similarly using the image of a homophobic racist murderer as a symbol of human rights is stupid. Yes it is done but that doesn’t make it correct or a good example.
  • Over hyped “specialty” ammo is a k*k idea. A really, really, really k*k idea. – Don’t fall for the latest fashion trend. Your focus should be on reliability and consistent performance not on hype or clever marketing programs. It is the shooter who needs to do the job not the gimmick.
  • ‘Smartie-boxing your ammo makes you look and sound like a noob.’ – You have got to find humor in the longevity of the military born myth of round counting in the gun fight. The term “smartie boxing” refers to stacking your rounds in such a manner in your magazine so that certain types of rounds will be available at certain times of the firing sequence in order to deal with so called predictable stages in a shooting incident. As an example many will carry a hollow point round first ostensibly to deal with the close up attacker, then a full metal jacketed round in case you need to penetrate an object. Some people will advocate the use of snake shot and so forth. There are reams and reams of reasons why this is simply as nonsensical as the Israeli carry concept. The simplest explanation as to why this is fundamentally a bad idea is that aside from the dynamic and completely unpredictable nature of a gunfight, you will equate trigger press with survival in a shooting situation. There are so many physiological responses to stress that if you manage to know exactly which round is coming out of your magazine next, then I am calling you are superman and you don’t need a firearm.
  • ‘Always choose a stripper with no glitter on her to give you a lap dance. You’ll thank me when you get home’. – Yes, getting glitter out of the trigger mechanism is a lot of hard work. Don’t ask how I know.
  • ‘Paintball markers with solids or pepper balls in them are still not SD tools! ‘– Yes I checked again. Playing paintball with armed robbers is simply not a long term sustainable hobby.

So, the irreverence aside I do hope that the next time you are faced with a myth, remember to apply a healthy dose of common sense to it. Figure out how it will work in reality and when the “experts” assure that you can do it, balance that with the realization that you can skydive without a parachute, once.

Mark Groome and his company 365 Training can be found here : https://www.facebook.com/365-Training-330224993799442/?fref=ts

Bryan is a former South African police officer. After leaving the police service and following years conducting protective work in Afghanistan, Iraq and North Africa, he joined the corporate world as an incident management specialist for a Fortune 50 company. He continues to train with active duty professionals and concerned citizens.

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